How much will HDTV priced drop this season?
October 29, 2008 12:36 PM   Subscribe

I still don't have HDTV and have been postponing this major expense as much as I can. Last week was in Costco and saw Westinghouse 32" LCD for just $399 and almost snapped. Does it make any sense to wait longer? Will prices sink after Christmas or will they stay flat?
posted by bargainhunter to Shopping (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like holiday season price drops have already occurred. I know that last year, the price drops after the holidays were incredible, but I'll bet they won't drop much more this season
posted by briank at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2008

I still don't have HDTV and have been postponing this major expense as much as I can.
You sound desperate. Is there some imperative you sense to go HD? You can put it off for another year or even longer, if you wish.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2008

Might as well buy now, as I hear that Black Friday will now be starting around Halloween and going all the way through Christmas.
It's not a day any more, it's a season :)
posted by willmize at 12:51 PM on October 29, 2008

If you have cable or satellite, there's not really any reason to rush. Plus, converter boxes are cheap. I've seen HDTVs, and I don't think they're actually that exciting a difference. I'd assume they would go down over time like any technology will. My personal strategy is just to wait until the current TV dies.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:53 PM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: I have watched PBS channel 11 last night at my friend's house and was amazed at the quality of the free programs you can receive with HDTV. I don't have cable and the picture I get over the air is no comparison to what I would get with HD.
posted by bargainhunter at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2008

I don't know about the specific model you are looking at, but do check the repair history. Wesitnghouse doesn't have a stellar repuation for longevity. (I have a Westinghouse 32 that is only a couple years old and is already at the end of its life.)

Prices will keep going down in general, Christmas or not.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:57 PM on October 29, 2008

Also, some of the super-cheap LCD models out there are old ones that lack a ATSC/OTA HD receiver, i.e. they don't actually get over-the-air HD broadcasts and are only for use with a cable box or such. CHeck the spec list for the magic letters "ATSC", preferable plus "QAM" for receiving free HD over cable.
posted by GuyZero at 1:08 PM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: I know what you mean about the brand name. My current TV is Sony and I have had it for almost 10 years with no issues.

Still, Costco offers free second year warranty which gives me some peace of mind.

I just looked up the model number: SK-32H540S
posted by bargainhunter at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2008

You might find out whether Costco (or wherever you end up buying your TV) has a price guarantee. Amazon used to do this; they guaranteed to refund the difference in price if any price drops occurred within 30 days of your purchase, though you had to contact them and request it.

Amazon doesn't do this any longer, but if you find a place that does, you can get your TV now and be insulated against any price drops (for that particular model) by Black Friday.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 1:39 PM on October 29, 2008

Prices will ALWAYS go down on consumer electronics. Pick a model you like and check it out.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:44 PM on October 29, 2008

That TV is capable of receiving digital broadcasts with only an antenna. It has a built-in digital tuner, so you're good there.

One thing you will want to consider is your reception - with analog, even though the picture may not be the best, there is a lot of tolerable middle ground for signal strength. With a digital broadcast, the transition from perfect to unwatchable is very, very quick if you don't have a strong signal. Things should improve somewhat next year, as the switch from analog to permanent digital broadcasts should see more power dedicated to those digital signals, but I don't know exactly how much better it will be. I'm sure it will vary by area.

In my home we get an interesting mix of channels - some stations we can only receive in analog, some we only receive digital, and a few we get our choice. I'm hoping after the cutover next year, we don't lose access to the stations we can currently only receive in analog. I know they are broadcasting digital, we just can't pick it up right now.

At any rate, $399 is a decent price for an ok TV. Westinghouse doesn't have the best reputation, but with the additional warranty you'll probably be ok.

On preview, blue_beetle's comment is absolutely true, but(IMO) should only be a factor if you can't afford the current price. Because whether you by now for $399 or next year for something less, another year after that will most likely see even lower prices. I guess you have to weigh current benefit vs potential future savings. Is the wait worth the drop?
posted by owtytrof at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2008

Since the beginning of the flat-panel/big-screen era, I've had a policy of "I ain't gonna pay no two thousand dollars for no T.V." I expected prices for a reasonably sized HDTV to come down to around $1,000, yet the price for the "T.V. That You Want" stubbornly remained around $2,000.

However, last year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, as I was throwing the mountain of ad circulars away, something on the Best Buy ad caught my eye. They had a bundle deal: a 56" rear-projection Samsung HDTV and an XBox 360 for $1,400. Now this isn't a top-of-the-line T.V. and was already last year's model at the time, but it does full HD and is only 16" deep and is much larger than any flat-panel that I could afford so I went for it. Of course, after cables and doo-dads and an extra controller and Halo 3, the bill came to almost two grand, but I still feel like I got a good deal. In fact, the loss prevention guy checked it over twice because he couldn't believe it, then said, "I'm coming back after my shift to pick one up."

In any event, I would say that if you've waited this long, I'd wait for another couple of weeks and see what the big electronics retailers sell last year's model for in the week before Thanksgiving. You might pick up a excellent bargain.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2008

Crap, I meant to include a link to AntennaWeb. You can search on your address there to find out how your reception should be with certain antennas, and also how you would need to orient a directional antenna depending on what station you want to receive best. In my case, our reception is a little better than expected based on the information at AntennaWeb.
posted by owtytrof at 1:51 PM on October 29, 2008

That's a good price for a 32" hdtv, but really take some time to look at it, especially at the distance your couch is from your tv at home. 32" in letterbox looks small-ish to me because its so wide and so short. FWIW, $200 more gets you a 37" which has quite a bite more screen real estate. The 37" hdtvs are in the price sweetspot right now. Dont make a purchase you'll regret.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:03 PM on October 29, 2008

2nd what DDA says. I bought a 32" and regular broadcasts looked so small I upped to a 37".

I am also underwhelmed by the HDTV content on offer at the moment. The standard HD channels from my cable company pretty much allow me to watch sports (which I hate) the crappy prime-time cops shows (which I hate) and horribly sharp images of Letterman, Leno and Conan (right before bed).
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:18 PM on October 29, 2008

Definitely go to a store and look at them versus just finding a deal and ordering online. For example, IMO, the rear projection sets, though much cheaper, look really bad. Just my opinion, not flaming anyone. Also, in a store, you can notice differences between various LCDs, Plasmas, etc.

Also, I agree that you should check out the type of HD programming you have available. I bought a set, then realized the Dish Network (only service available in my condo) has horrible programming for my taste. There's some stuff I watch, but it's mostly a bunch of things I'll never tune in to. Comcast (in Chicago at least) has a much, much bigger and better assortment of programming. Good thing I have my XBox 360.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:53 PM on October 29, 2008

I want a 32" Samsung for the bedroom, but my plan is to wait until the Black Friday ads start circulating so I can get a better idea of the price cuts. You might want to try checking this HDTV bargain page on a regular basis, too... that 40" Samsung LCD for $800 is so very tempting.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:35 PM on October 29, 2008

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